Rewarding recruiters – is it all just about numbers?


Now here’s a debate.  Should recruiters be rewarded solely on their billings? Should big billers be promoted into senior roles bcause they are big billers? Are big billers always the best managers?

Of course recruitment is a performance driven culture – that’s a given – but disengaged employees, managed by poor leaders, are far more likely to underperform.

If the recruitment industry wants to be taken seriously in terms of offering career paths and career development then shouldn’t the sector be looking at being a bit more innovative in terms of their reward strategies and bigging up their employer brand? And won’t that ensure that your staff become rounded business professionals, proud of who they work for, and not merely motivated by the size of their pay packet?

Now before you all start shouting I know that some of you already do this.  In fact, technical and engineering recruiter CBSbutler is a shining example of just what can be achieved if you are brave enough to really raise the bar.

Managing Director David Leyshon introduced a new performance management system that links 40% of a quarterly bonus to behaviours such as self development, drive for results, teamwork, problem solving, customer focus, and organizing & planning. The result? A 25% increase in sales since the scheme was introduced together with significantly better delivery across all key business indicators.

David believes that the building of talented workforces and lasting customer relationships is absolutely key in driving competitive advantage.  And that sustainable business success can only be achieved through competent managers who haven’t been promoted just because they are the biggest billers.  Consequently, he feels that if you ‘performance manage’ and reward everyone solely by ‘hard’ figures, then that can foster harmful practices and mindsets.  It will undoubtedly also compromise values – creating management headaches together with the promotion of acute personal greed at the expense of teamwork and professionalism.  If you link financial rewards to behaviours, you end up with a much more engaged and co-operative workforce who will deliver performance across all areas and not just next month’s targets.

The lack of sophistication in managing performance within the recruitment sector has been to the detriment of building sustainable and quality operations because of the overwhelming emphasis on short term results. Behaviour linked reward schemes ensure a holistic approach is taken to developing and harnessing talent- isn’t that the key to future success?

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3 thoughts on “Rewarding recruiters – is it all just about numbers?”

  1. I remember from my days in ad agencies when I looked after a lot of recruitment consultancy clients, mostly in the IT & Telecoms sectors, generally most were paid by their billings. Some were so successful at what they did they only came in in the mornings and earned what seemed hideous amounts to us mere mortals. I remember the MD of one telling me on the way to a golf jolly that one consultant made twice as much as him but that it didn’t bother him as the guy was worth it. About £400k a year I seem to recall is it right? I don’t really know, but I would definitely say yes if I was that particular consultant!

    1. The problem is you end up with the biggest billers in the most senior roles which ususlaly means that they are managing other people – but are they the best people managers? Not always!!!

  2. Took great interest in finding this article. I had wanted for years to think of a way of incentivising the whole industry and then came up with our model that basically rewards recruiters who provide a good level of service and penalises whereby the standard has been below par. Though system will highlight also for directors where their consultants may need training. By doing this at a consultant level allows employers to really select who they want to work for their roles. Now directors and owners of agencies can renumerate their consultants dependent upon their feedback and placements service history.

    The site allows consultants to form their profile.

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